The Thoma Crown Affair – 1968 – English
Film directed in 1968 by Norman Jewison, and starring Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke, Jack Weston, Yaphet Kotto, Todd Martin, Biff McGuire, Astrid Heeren…
Synopsis: Four men pull off a daring daytime robbery at a bank, dump the money in a trash can and go their separate ways. Thomas Crown, a successful, wealthy businessman pulls up in his Rolls and collects it. Vickie Anderson, an independent insurance investigator is called in to recover the huge haul. She begins to examine the people who knew enough about the bank to have pulled the robbery and discovers Crown. She begins a tight watch on his every move and begins seeing him socially. How does the planner of the perfect crime react to pressure?
Review: This movie is for fans of the 60s era not just 60’s movies. It is a vehicle for displaying McQueen’s cool and Dunaway’s style. Made and set in an age when only the hippest were members of the jet set. Besides the two stars, look for solid performances from a very young Yaphet Kotto and the always disgusting Jack Weston.
The film itself is well crafted, beautifully photographed and brilliantly directed, it also has a great score. Jewison makes use of the split screen effect, several places in the film. While not only visually interesting, it also captures something of the essence of the era. Few people today will realise the significance of the split screen effect, as they don’t remember Montreal’s Expo/67.
While essentially a cool heist flic, and one of the first, this film is much more. It is a subtle study of human behaviour and the basic characteristics of man and woman. McQueen is the bored rich playboy and Dunaway is the cool, yet seductive private eye, who is not above using her feminine charms to solve a case. From time to time, the film hints at Crown’s inner crisis, he is constantly in need of distraction, to prevent himself from dwelling on the fact that his life is essentially empty and meaningless.
Throughout the film, McQueen and Dunaway play a cat and mouse game, both on the professional level and also on the sexual level. The sexual tension during the chess game for example is so palpable, you can’t help but be drawn in, dwelling on every stroke of Dunaway’s fingers and every twitch on McQueen’s face.
Unlike the modern remake, which is vapid by comparison, this film forces the viewer to pay attention, or risk missing the whole point. The pace of the original is much slower than the remake, and so might not appeal to those raised on video games.
The ending of this film gives us some real insight into the true nature of the relationships between men and women.
Overall, this film is a modern masterpiece.